Yes, awards and accolades are fun, as are thank-you’s and complimentary comments, but what those of us in business really want (and need) are RESULTS of our efforts. Sometimes the achievement of those results is obvious. Other times – not so much. True measurable results are frequently elusive and/or difficult to prove in our particular world of marketing and communications.

A challenge in our industry is that there is no a uniform way to measure what we do. And when the goal is to increase a company’s “brand awareness” (and actually prove that to be true), it can sometimes be frustrating and complicated, to say the least.

When seeking ways to measure results that truly matter and that actually move the needle for organizations, a good starting point is to determine not only what to measure, but also how frequently to measure it (weekly, monthly, quarterly and/or annually).

A reasonable starting point is to attach your goals to the following three categories of marketing and communications activities:

  1. Organizational goals, (what the overall organization is trying to achieve).
  2. “Campaign” goals (the objectives of a specific marketing outreach effort).
  3. Tactical goals (very specific measurement of which individual tactics within your marketing program are producing the most traction).

Also, ask yourself these important questions:

  1. Why are we doing this to begin with?
  2. How will we recognize if it’s successful or not?
  3. What are we really trying to achieve at the end of the day?

Obviously, the more well-defined the goals and timeframes are, the more successful and meaningful your measurement of them will probably be.

We live in such an “instant gratification” world that it is sometimes difficult to take the long view when evaluating marketing results. Also, there are probably multiple factors that play into achieving those results, so it is important to look at outside influences and things beyond your immediate control, such as the state of the overall economy and of your industry in particular.

In summary, tangible results of your marketing and outreach efforts are the ultimate measuring stick, but it is also important to attach reasonable timeframes to your expectations and to place them within a broad context of what is happening both internally within your organization and externally in the world beyond your company.

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